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Franchise Opportunities Provide an Escape from the Corporate Structure Franchising can offer a path to small-business ownership and financial freedom.


Corporate employees wanting to take control of their financial futures continue to seek entrepreneurial opportunities amid challenging economic forecasts.

As they shed their structured office lives, surrounded by cubicles and bureaucracy, they are finding a fit in their new lives as small business owners.

A renewed surge in entrepreneurship that began in 2020 continues now. Last year, Americans created 5 million new businesses despite rising inflation and clouded economic forecasts, according to a survey from Gusto, a human resources software firm. That's a 42% increase from 2019.

In its 2023 New Business Survey, 41% of business owners said they started their business because they were concerned about their financial stability or wanted to supplement their household income. The survey also found that 49% of mid-career workers chose to start their own business due to burnout, up from 36% in 2021.

While starting your own business can be a risky venture, franchising can provide a more stable option with significant benefits to a first-time business owner. This year, the number of franchise locations is expected to grow by 1.9% to reach 805,436, according to the International Franchising Association. Brand recognition, business support, training and marketing assistance are all benefits of owning a franchise while also gaining the feeling of entrepreneurial independence.

The desire to be in control of their own financial future and freedom to make their own decisions is a strong motivator for beginning entrepreneurs, and Kumon Instructors are no different.

Samuel Song worked in public, private, and non-profit sectors in the U.S. and China, but he knew he wanted more. The sense of independence, freedom, and the ability to make his own decisions motivated him to start his own small business, the Kumon Center in East Spokane, Wash.

"It is a career that I felt born to do," he says. "The daily work with kids is very fulfilling and meaningful. Having my own center provides me the freedom for a flexible schedule. It also helped my daughter tremendously, giving her the edge over her peers starting from a very young age."

What Song sought in his professional life mirrors the mentality of other small business owners when they were deciding whether to open their own business. While Song wasn't seeking a business in the education field, the opportunity was intriguing when he found it, and his past experience helped the transition.

"All my previous experiences prepared me with skills and knowledge to run a successful Kumon Center," he says. "I always wanted to have my own business, so I researched and found Kumon. The rest is history."

Song says opening his own Kumon Center was a life-changing decision that he was happy he made.

"Kumon has been a dream come true to me and my family," Song says. "I am no longer working. I am truly doing something I love now."

Lydia Chan's experience in becoming an entrepreneur was a bit different.

She had worked for the New York City Department of Education, handling special education policy and as a project manager for its STEM department before taking maternity leave. As she prepared to re-enter the workforce, Kumon was an opportunity that offered her the freedom she sought.

"Going back into the workforce can be daunting for a new parent," she says. "Kumon seemed to be an opportunity to create and personalize a tried-and-tested program that has been around for decades. It allowed me to be my own boss and create my own success."

Chan did her research before making a decision. Kumon appeared to offer the freedom she wanted and a change from the public education structure she knew.

"I wanted to form and mold myself and my career into what I wanted it to look like and not continue working at the expense of the societal rat race," Chan says. She is now the owner and operator of the Kumon Center of Beacon, N.Y.

Hina Patel, who owns the Kumon Center in Matthews, N.C., with her husband, Sanjay, had a degree in marketing but wanted to escape the corporate structure to help her children and fill the need for an early learning program in their area.

"I worked in the corporate world for many years, so when we moved from Chicago to Charlotte, I did want a small business," Patel says. "I wanted to have flexibility so I could be home with my children. I also wanted Kumon so I could help my children and other students."

Patel opened her center in 2005 and has continued to learn how she can better teach her students through visiting other centers, talking to other instructors and continued education. While it is challenging, it's also fulfilling to her.

"Owning my own business is fantastic, especially with a company that helps all children to better their lives," she says. "I can finally do everything my way. I have learned that to run an efficient business, I must have the right staff to delegate tasks."

To learn if the Kumon Franchise opportunity is right for you, visit kumonfranchise.com.